Monday, February 18, 2013

Better Know a President!

In honor of President's Day, here are links to several blog pieces I've written about each of the first five American presidents:

George Washington: His precedent of retiring after two terms, and creating thereby the "post-presidency," is discussed here; this entry mentions a microbrew created with Washington's own recipe. My favorite online link regarding Washington is here, but be warned: it is very Unsafe For Work or for children.

John Adams: This entry reviews the John Adams miniseries that played on HBO a few years ago.  It's less inaccurate than other films about the Revolutionary era, but I probably won't be using it in class.

Thomas Jefferson: A regular on this site, he was the subject of a short piece on the Beringian hypothesis of Native American origins, another on the first American diplomatic contact with Vietnam, a short primary-source-based reply to the Tea Partiers, and an essay replying to a blog entry by the inimitable Paul Bibeau.

James Madison: One of the more obscure early American presidents, unless one is in advertising, lives in Wisconsin, is a fan of the movie Splash, or likes to read the Federalist Papers for fun.  Here are my thoughts on Madison's true legacy.

James Monroe: Despite being named for a famous Doctrine, Monroe has not previously piqued my interest on this weblog.  I did note in a Twitter post a couple of years ago one of the more interesting pieces of trivia I discovered while researching a book chapter on Monroe: in the mid-1790s, when Monroe served as U.S. minister to France, his daughter Eliza attended school with Hortense Beauharnais, Napoleon Bonaparte's stepdaughter.  This probably gave the two men some familiarity with one another when they met a decade later to discuss the Louisiana Purchase.  Wikipedia, which knows more than me, points out that one of Hortense's portraits now hangs in James Monroe's plantation home in Virginia.


More to come on this subject, probably.


KO said...

What a delightful post, David!

I think, however, that we Americans should have an Anti-Presidents' Day in which we celebrate the worst presidents in our history. There are, after all, so many worthy candidates. Would you be willing to provide a post to get the ball rolling?


Dave Nichols said...

Thank you, Katherine! I'd be glad to post something on the worst American president (or presidents). Perhaps we should make Anti-Presidents Day the 9th of January, which is Richard Nixon's birthday. If so, I'm already behind!

KO said...

Well, there is always next year to launch this project if we stick with Nixon's birthday. May I, however, suggest July 6--birthday of "43", George Walker Bush--as the anti-president's day? Sadly, one could argue that "W" (or, as I like to call him, Dumbya)actually makes Nixon look good in comparison. But we shall have to debate this over drinks.